US History 1
23 November 14
Slavery and The Making Of America
Have you ever thought about the explicit details that went into the creation of America? Slavery and the Making of America, written by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton uses facts and stories to portray the life of slaves, and the evolution of slavery over several decades, and its effect on America today. The title of this book, Slavery and the Making of America is a great leeway into the authors’ main thesis of the book; “Slavery was, and continues to be, a critical factor in shaping the United States and all of its people. As Americans, we must understand slavery’s history if we are ever to be emancipated from its consequences,” (Horton). Throughout the six chapters in this book, the authors’ go into explicit details on what actions from both white Americans and African slaves led to the Civil War, the abolition of slavery and America as it is today. Slavery and the Making of America is a book split into 6 chapters. The book starts off by explaining history about African slaves, and their bringing to America. Africans’ were kept as slaves in the United States for at least twelve generations. Slavery was one of the main components that led to the building of America. Well-endowed white men would buy slaves to work on their plantations. Slaves eventually created a basis for America’s wealth as a nation, especially with their labor put towards farming cotton. This book not only goes into details about the labor that the slaves partook in on a daily basis that kept America up and running, but also about the cultural aspect of bring slaves into the country. Bringing African’s over to America brought a whole new culture to America. Although white men enslaved African’s they continued to embrace their culture. They brought a new religion, language, music, and several skills that have uniquely blended the American culture that it is today. This book shares stories of African people slowly becoming African Americans, despite the conditions that they lived and worked in. It goes into detail about the contradiction of the American people. How could a country founded on the basis of freedom and equality for all believe in slavery and unequal treatment of persons due to race? This book shares details of white Americans, generation after generation, trying to reconcile this contradiction, yet being unsuccessful. Although black people were enslaved, they never lost hope or determination to live up to the principles stated in the founding documents of America. The African Roots of Colonial America, the first chapter in this book, reflects the authors’ main thesis by examining the beginning of the African slave trade in America. During this time millions of Americans were shipped across the Atlantic in the largest forced migration in human history. During this time hundred of thousands of slaves were sent, and arrived to the new land annually. These slaves were used to create a newer and stronger global economy, by farming cotton, tobacco, and sugar in the Americas. Chapter two, Slavery: From the Revolution to the Cotton Kingdom shows a different perspective of the authors’ thesis. This chapter goes into more depth about the American Revolution and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The authors’ explain that the white Americans’ had no intentions to include blacks in the Declaration of Independence despite the hostility from blacks, both those who were slaves and those who were free. The American Revolution was a turning point in slavery. Thousands of slaves escaped to the British, many settling in different countries. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, President Jackson sought out to black troops, granting them freedom from slavery if they survived the war. After the American Revolution, westward expansion was beginning to happen. With new technology of the cotton gin, more and...
Cited: Horton, James Oliver, and Lois E. Horton. Slavery and the Making of America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print.
"Slavery and the Making of America." PBS. PBS, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. .
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